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Last Updated: Friday, 8 August, 2003, 09:10 GMT 10:10 UK
Helicopter crashes in Chechnya
By Sarah Rainsford
BBC Moscow correspondent

Russian Mi-8 helicopter
Russian helicopters are frequently targeted by separatists
The Russian military has confirmed that one man was killed and two seriously injured after a helicopter came down in Chechnya on Thursday evening.

Unconfirmed reports suggest it was shot down by Chechen rebels.

Meanwhile the conflict between Russian troops and separatists in Chechnya has spilled over the border once again.

An ambush on a military convoy in neighbouring Ingushetia has left six Russian soldiers dead and seven injured.

The Mi-8 helicopter came down in a mountainous region in south eastern Chechnya.

It is an area known as a rebel stronghold.

It was originally thought all three crew members had died instantly, but two men have now been rescued and evacuated to hospital with serious injuries.

Immediately after the crash a spokesman said the helicopter had been shot down by a shoulder-fired missile.

The military now suggest the crew may simply have crashed in poor weather.

Separatist resolve

Over the border in Ingushetia, events are clearer - a military convoy came under heavy fire there on Thursday evening.

The troops were en route from Grozny to base, just across the Chechen border.

Six soldiers died on the spot.

The Russian military has been targeted in Ingushetia before. Just last week, five soldiers were killed when their convoy hit a mine.

Russia is pushing its political solution for the conflict in Chechnya, but these attacks are another reminder from separatist rebels there that they have no intention of abandoning their cause.


SEE ALSO:
Gun battle in Chechen village
21 Jul 03  |  Europe
Chechnya's forgotten refugees
14 Jul 03  |  Europe
Unending Chechen nightmare
12 May 03  |  Europe
Q&A: The Chechen conflict
29 Oct 02  |  Europe
Profile: Chechnya
30 Apr 03  |  Country profiles


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